Check my new remix for BC2 Records out!
You’ll probably expect a big and loud “NOOO” from me. I have to disappoint you. LANDR is good.
BOOM, there I dropped it: it’s good.
You get reasonable results for an unbeatable price. Fast, easy, very affordable. There are few good reasons not to use LANDR. But decisive, for example: it’s only good, not more, just good.
There is no human experienced audio engineer who brings his many years of experience and his sense of music and musicality into play. Nobody tells you if and how you can improve your mix, so that eventually the master gets better. Special requests are not considered by LANDR, corrections — of any kind — do not exist. You can not talk to anyone about the process and that’s why you do not learn anything, there is no feedback or commentary.
I claim that a master of LANDR will never sound as good as any of mine or my colleagues in the same category of our business. But…
If you do not have high standards but just want a “good” sounding song then LANDR is for you. You only pay a fraction and get decent results that you do not have to be ashamed of.
I say all of this with a healthy dose of self-confidence because I know I’m better. But I do not need to bash services like LANDR either because I can acknowledge that they do a good job for what it is. Nothing more, nothing less. Also, I’m not religious about anything but always open for new technology and new ways of doing things.
It all depends on you and your needs. There are just things you cannot replace with an algorithm. I’m very much into all things A.I. and automation, but I also think I know where its limitations are.
… is a wonderful summer-ish sounding tune which I had the pleasure to master recently.
Learn more about it here (German). Directly watch the (amazing) “one-take” video here:
- So Are You Trying To Be A Musician
I am a musician. Not trying. Trying to be a musician is watching the first YouTube video on how to hold a guitar. Not what I have done for the past 15 years. That is BEING a musician.
- You Sound Like…
I know you’re trying to be nice by putting me in good company, but musicians want to feel original. We don’t want to hear we sound like everyone else. That we’re unoriginal. It’s fine for you to sell your friends on listening to someone new by comparing them to well known artists, but when talking to a musician, the best compliment is “you sound like YOU and it’s awesome.” Unless you’re talking to a pop producer, then yeah, “it sounds like Katy Perry” is probably the best compliment you could give.
- You Should Try Out For American Idol
I will slap you.
- When Am I Going To Hear You On The Radio?
When your radio plays better shit.
- You Should Be On The Voice
Because that’s a career builder. Right Jermaine?
- You Must Love Karaoke
No, actually, I hate karaoke because I have to listen to you sing.
- Can I Get On The List? Plus 1?
You don’t have $10 to support my music, but you have $50 for the round of shots you just bought everyone?
- What’s Your Real Job?
It’s this little field called music. It’s way more real than those TPS reports you put together for the Bobs.
- What’s Your Backup Plan
- It Will Be Great Exposure
Meaning, it doesn’t pay. No thanks.
- I Have A Great Idea For A Song
And I have a great idea on how you can fix my faucet better. But let’s keep these things to ourselves.
- Free Bird
That stopped being funny in ’97.
I’ve done around 30 different mixes, tried like 10 different guitars, mixing the drum kit and making it sounding right has taken an incredible amount of time, I’ve tweaked the tiniest bits of sound to total exhaustion.
Should the grand piano have more mechanical noises… should the timpani have slightly more reverb… should the guitar have a delay or not, should I add the cello on top of the full orchestra, or an oboe? Should I widen the acoustic guitar or leave it as is? Is this chord harmonic enough for the one before? Is the Oberheim too loud? Should I use the Gibson EB0 or the Les Paul bass, finger or pick? Stratocaster or Telecaster? This or that cabinet, or none at all, what amp? Distortion or slight fuzz, tremolo?
Questions like that are bothering me all the time. And the production is so huge that my DAW crashes at least 3 times a day. Plus, anxiety, doubts… because “is it all worth it? Will they understand it?”. Sleepless nights. Then again: “fuck yeah!”. It all sounds absolutely heavenly, I get goosebumps all the time. And nothing is even mastered at all.
I have half of the album sounding as perfect as it gets, with the needed amount of imperfection to become perfect. I open parts of it again, again and again… stuff that I did a year ago that doesn’t sound right today, and may sound not right next week. You get the idea. 😉
No worries, it’s all good. It’s finished very soon. Once it’s done I have nothing to do with it anymore. Then it’s a product with a life of its own, and I will watch it learning to walk.
I will reply to all of your questions in a video that I’ll upload to Facebook and YouTube, very soon.
I have a few new things to update you on.
- I have a new bio! No, really. It’s good, I love it. It’s the best bio God has ever created, it’s amazing, it’s terrific.
- Finalizing the album takes longer than wished, because I’ve been swamped with a gazillion tasks from my quadrillion jobs I (pretend to) have. But (!) on one hand it’ll be finished later, on the other you will have it earlier, because I found a very nice solution for how to deliver it to you. More on this in another post. In case you haven’t listened to the little medley I’ve put together, here it is:
During my visit for a gig in Berlin last week I’ve found the time to (finally!) collaborate with my good friend, legend and all-over genius Bernhard Wöstheinrich (you have to check out his stuff, trust me!). Not only has it been a wonderful time with someone I dearly cherish, we’ve also worked on 3 tunes that sound crazy awesome (more is planned, of course), and the titles and the name for our new project are just as promising (and weird) as the music itself. Bernhard’s almost impossible wizard-like contributions to the project are, well … almost impossible to describe. The wizardry is strong on this one, that’s for sure. We will reveal details on this as soon as we can. And maybe — we really don’t know that, yet — we even perform our stuff live. Like in “playing instruments on stage”. First, let’s finish that music. Also, we are looking for the right label for this. Early interest is welcome.
- New gigs all across Europe are in the making. That means, basically: words are being talked. As you know, this doesn’t always result in satisfying results. Plus, right now I really need to get my shit together, regarding finishing the album, which has top priority. In case you’re a promoter, we’re always happy about your interest in booking me, though.
Thanks for reading. 😉
Brian Eno’s next album will be available as a generative app, allowing listeners to hear it as an endless, constantly changing stream of sound.
As both a DJ and composer, the Circle of Fifth or the Camelot Key Wheel system — amongst others — have always been handy tools for me to write and mix music harmonically. There are just too many options in chord progressions than I could ever have in my memory (maybe you can, but I don’t). Plus, I personally use 3 different DJ applications and 3 different DAWs for music production alone, for different purposes.
So yeah, I could always have a look at above mentioned helpers to orientate myself through the notes and chords jungle, in case needed, which is not always the case. I have the most common chords in my head. Just not always.
As a composer I’m fine with the musical key/chord system, i.e. “A minor“, but as a DJ it isn’t very likely (for me, again) to remember all the musical chords to know what to mix into what. So, smart people came up with different systems like the Camelot Keys (Mixed in Key, which I prefer, because of its accuracy) or the Open Keys (Traktor). Which is basically a range of 12 keys for each gender, major and minor chords. “A minor” is 8A (Camelot Key) or 1m (Open Key). In a nutshell: if you mix 1A into 2A (and so forth, up until 12A and then into 1A again) you’re generally fine. Your mixing transitions will always be harmonic, no key clashes. This example is the very basic part of harmonic mixing or composing. And also a bit boring if you do that all the time. It becomes really good and interesting when you use all the options within the world of chord progressions.
What I was missing in all those years of composing and DJing was ONE chart (to rule them all) that shows me ALL key/chord systems and their equivalents, their piano keys (very useful for composing) and their harmonic keys/chords. I searched the net in order to find out if someone did this, but no one did. At least I couldn’t find it.
So, I did it myself. 8 hours work and I had what I was looking for. And since I guess this could be useful for every musician/DJ, I want to share it here with you. This is how it looks like (click to open the full resolution file):
You can download the high-res JPG above, print it out and use it for yourself, if you like. Here’s a PDF and the original EXCEL version of it, in case you want to edit/modify something for your needs (let me know when you find mistakes or when you improved it!):
WHAT DOES IT DO, HOW DO I USE THIS?
Let’s take an example for a composing or mixing situation:
The chord we’re working with at the moment is A minor (or 8A, or 1m). What shall be next? Everything in the table below — around the 8A — is possible, it will be harmonic. The closer to the 8A it is the more harmonic it’ll be.
Western Music Scale
Piano Chord Keys
DJ Keys up/down
|D minor||D | F | A||7A||12m||Fourth (Sub-Dominant)||-1|
|C major||C | E | G||8B||1d||Relative major|
A | C | E
Same key (tonic)
|E minor||E | G | B||9A||2m||Fifth (Dominant)||1|
|B-flat/♭ minor||A# | C# | F||3A||8m||Low energy boost||7|
|B minor||B | D | F#||10A||3m||High energy boost (supertonic)||2|
|A-flat/♭ minor||G | B | D#||1A||6m||Low energy drain||-7|
|G minor||G | A# | D||6A||11m||High energy drain (leading tone)||-2|
But your decision what to do next is depending on the purpose. What kind of “feel” do you want to give your mix or composition?
Here are some possible chord progression scenarios, working with the Camelot Keys (which I prefer, at least for DJing), starting with 8A:
That’s how I call it, it’s kind of a “secure standard”, nothing special, it’s just flowing along:
8A > 9A > 10A … 12A > 1A > 2A and so forth, until you’re at 7A and back into 8A again
You can’t go wrong with this one, you just rock “around the clock”. Depending on the energy level of actual music/sequence used, transitions changes can be very energetic, though.
The “Little Ocean Wave”
The energy of this chord progression has the shape of an ocean wave or a sawtooth:
8A > 9A > 11A (+2 DJ keys, high energy boost) > 12A > 1a and so forth
You can do this once in a while to give your mix a little energy boost, which makes it more interesting than the “River”.
The “Big Ocean Wave”
8A > 9A > 4A (+7 DJ keys, low energy boost) > 6A (+2 DJ keys, high energy boost) > 7a and so forth
Here you have a longer and progressive wave of energy rising, until it falls back to normal at 7A again, just like an ocean wave crashing and the next one building up again.
The “Wild Ocean”
It’s a bit stormy, and the waters stirred up, but everything is still harmonic and in place. This is the most “interesting” way of mixing, things shouldn’t become boring:
8A > 8B (relative major) > 9A > 4A (+7 DJ keys, low energy boost) > 4B (relative major) > 6B (+2 DJ keys, high energy boost) > 7B > 2B (+7 DJ keys, low energy boost) > 4B (+2 DJ keys, high energy boost) > 5B and so forth
Music used: Third Son & Wally Lopez “Geometry” (8A) > Ingo Vogelmann “Empire On Fire” (8B) > Antrim “The Mystic Lovers” (9A) > Michael A “Storm” (4A) > Raw District Feat. Jinadu “Taking You Down” (Habischman Remix) (4B)
I could make up a hell of a lot more examples now (with even sillier names), but you most probably already get the idea. The options are really endless, and you’ll always be composing or DJing harmonic. The above scenarios are just examples. Find out what works for yourself, I’m sure you’ll have fun experimenting with chord progressions, using this nifty chart. Oh, and don’t mind the silly names … it’s just about giving things a name. 😉
It’s free! Download, share, modify, re-publish and generally do with it whatever you want. But please, don’t pretend you did this. Credit would be nice (and fair), but is no condition.
Now, if you’d head over to bandcamp and buy my music, that’ll be rather nice:
Update, January 2017
The Distortion of Sound is a documentary about the decline of sound quality and how technology has changed the way we listen to music. It will open your ears and inspire you to reach for richer, more soul-stirring musical experiences. Hear it all at DistortionOfSound.com